Origami Shuko by Isao Honda (1944) - found

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Laura Rozenberg
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Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:58 pm

Origami Shuko by Isao Honda (1944) - found

Post by Laura Rozenberg » Wed Jan 14, 2015 2:12 pm

POST EDITED: I don't know if you guys have read what I posted yesterday but Robert Lang advices me on an issue I was not fully aware: the book, Origami Shuko, is still protected by the copyright law until year 2039! So unfortunately cannot be uploaded and you won't be able to see it. I'm very sorry about that. However, I just wanted to let you know that a copy exists, and I have it!
Below is my message from yesterday, only that I removed the link to the book. :(

Happy to inform that a full copy of one of the most rare and sought after books in origami has been found. It is Origami Shuko, by Isao Honda, and the copy belonged to Gershon Legman.

I purchased Origami Shuko from his widow, Judith, as part of the contents of his amazing archive. I knew this finding would stir quite an excitement in the little origami community interested in the history of origami, so I wanted to make sure about a couple of issues before posting it in this forum. Yesterday I had the pleasure and honor to speak with Joan Sallas (through internet) who offered his point of view and hopefully we'll hear from hims soon.
One of the main questions looming on this book was why is it so rare that nobody has seen it before? David Lister said:
. Lister also said:
The other problem -and that's why so many people wanted to put a hand on that book- was about ownership that Akira Yoshizawa claimed on some of the models.
A.Y. wrote time and again to Gershon Legman regarding this issue and, in a way, asked for help or advice. All that Legman could tell him at that time was that he should try to sue Honda. "Why do you not simply sue him at law, in the courts of Japan?!", said Legman to Yoshizawa in a letter dated July 23, 1959. And before the end of the letter, he had a better idea: "Why you do not just walk in on him at his house and give him a good punch in the nose!! Then sue him”.
Of course Legman wanted to go as deep as he could regarding the truth behind the mysterious book. So he wanted to see the real thing. When he requested Honda a copy (he offered to pay for shipping and for photocopies), Honda apologized saying that he had lost the book! (letter from Legman to Yoshizawa, July 6th, 1971).
Yoshizawa was not as surprised as Legman thought he would be regarding Honda's answer. Yoshizawa was convinced that Honda had lied for a reason: “I have heard that you asked Mr. Honda to send you a copy of his Origami Shuko (1944). It seems unlikely to me that an author should have no copies of his own works on hand. On the contrary, I believe that he cannot comply with your request because the content of that book is now extremely embarassing to him. I shall send you a copy that I have on hand”. (Letter from Yoshizawa to Legman, April 13th, 1972).
But why Honda would be so embarrassed? Because he had stole some models from Yoshizawa? Or there was a more serious reason? That's something we don't know for sure although some hypothesis have been raised. Hopefully we get comments here from members of this list (Joan?).
Yoshizawa did as he promise and sent Legman a xerox copy of the book. The red marks on some pages are marks that Yoshizawa made for Legman to see where his own name appeared and which where his own models. That means that Honda didn't actually steal from Yoshizawa. He included his name on them. But A.Y. was still angry at him. So why? Maybe Honda didn't ask him for permission in advance? Or because there was something worth hiding? And that leads to an important question: Why Yoshizawa didn't sue Honda in the end? What do you think?
This is a fascinating story, we have ideas but want to hear from you first.

Look forward to your comments.
Laura Rozenberg

Michel G
Posts: 112
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 5:10 pm

Re: Origami Shuko by Isao Honda (1944) - found

Post by Michel G » Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:13 pm

It seems that the book can be found in a library... in Korea !

My source : http://www.dlibrary.go.kr/JavaClient/js ... 868&mode=1

ps If someone if familiar to Korean langage, he will could see the book if it has been digitalised !
Honda, Isao - Origami Shuko (1944) cov 50%.jpg
Cover of "Origami shuko" by Isao Honda (1944)
Honda, Isao - Origami Shuko (1944) cov 50%.jpg (242.02 KiB) Viewed 13461 times

Michel G
Posts: 112
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 5:10 pm

Re: Origami Shuko by Isao Honda (1944) - found

Post by Michel G » Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:43 pm

Found in the article "A list of books by Akira Yoshizawa" by David Lister (last revision 28-03-2006)
[Source = http://www.britishorigami.info/academic ... _books.php]


In his comments on a Panel Discussion about Origami held at the 10th Annual convention of the Friends of the Origami Center in 1988, Yoshizawa wrote the following:

“I have been told that my creatures have feelings. But here is another approach that is more mechanical. There was a time when I folded mechanically and geometrically.

My book Origami Shoukou” – “Technical Origami” was published in 1944 and is an example of this approach”.

Despite Yoshizawa’s claim that “Origami Shoukou” was his own book, it was, in fact, by Isao Honda. (The title is usually spelt “Origami Shuko”).

Nevertheless, the book does contain a section of models by Yoshizawa, which are clearly recorded in the book as his. They contrast sharply with the remainder of the models in the book. .Each of Yoshizawa’s models has his seal or monogram beside it and they include examples of his models of animals made from two separate squares of paper.

Origami Shuzo is extremely rare and for some reason Honda insisted that it was published in 1941 (before the beginning of the Pacific War). He claimed that no copies still existed. It is true that most copies were destroyed by bombing during the War, but a few copies certainly do survive.

Origami Shuko is mentioned in the original edition of “The World of Origami” by Isao Honda (not in the abridged paper backed edition) and the references throw interesting light on the relationship between Honda and Yoshizawa.

Michel G
Posts: 112
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 5:10 pm

Re: Origami Shuko by Isao Honda (1944) - found

Post by Michel G » Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:16 pm

And to see a photo of Isao Honda (1888 - 1975) and more :
http://myfuna.net/reg/press/myfuna/2012 ... 25204.html

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Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:52 pm

Re: Origami Shuko by Isao Honda (1944) - found

Post by CarloM » Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:16 pm

my name is Carlo Mugnai, I'm a member of CDO ('Centro Diffusione Origam'i, the Italian Origami association), at the moment I'm writing an article on Isao Honda for our magazine, 'Quadrato Magico'.
As usual I found interesting informations in Lister's articles and in other parts of the web, luckily I have almost all the Honda's books, almost...
Two of them are missing, the first one from 1931 (the links in another part of this board solved the problem) and the rarest 'Origami Shuko'.
'Origami Shuko' seems to be the key of the broken relationship between Honda and Yoshizawa (or perhaps it's only the last step of something grown in the years?)
So many questions...
Which models are in that book?
Is the famous peacock among them?
Some of them are by Yoshizawa, and it seems to be correctly attributed to him (as I read in the thread), but which ones? The same ones that appeared in 'The world of Origami' (First Edition)? And the attributed ones are all the Yoshizawa's models present in 'Origami Shuko' or someone 'were stolen'?
Are present some of the other models in some of the following Honda's books? and which ones?
I'll be grateful if you may answer at these questions

(English is not my first language, I apologize for every error and poor grammar)

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